Race. One of the most overly discussed and analyzed hot button topics ever. The fact that it's still an issue this year is, quite frankly, exhausting. Not because we live in a post-racist society (Obama being the first Black president does not equate to racism eradication) and not because it's just super fun to talk about. It's because whenever anyone gives attention or energy to anything, it prevails and persists because of the focus on that thing. Energy flows where attention goes. This is not to suggest that we should just ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist but rather focus our attention on crafting possible solutions. It's time for new strategies!
Bombard those who claim to be allies of melanated people to unite as a force against racism and destroy it from the inside out.
White people are the only people who can fix racism and use their privilege to foster cultural equality for ALL. .. If there aren't enough white people as aware and passionate about changing the system as those of other ethnicities, then what? Glad you asked. Please read on.
Always be radio silent about racism.
This is a tricky one to achieve because many people make money from racism being an issue. Writing and talking about it isn't working anymore. Trying to convince the privileged, the ignorant and the apathetic that racism still exists and engage them in any sort of discourse at all, especially in the comments sections, is totally pointless. It actually seems to make the problem worse. I think “no comment” or completely ignoring those who fuel the problem will be effective. Make a statement through silence!
For the nay-sayers:
Some may be wondering, “What about awareness? How can racial awareness and calling foul continue if open discussion ceases?”
Well consider this...Has that really worked in the 21st century? Because of the Internet, basically everyone basically everywhere is aware of basically everything. Many people get pissed off then:
call out the judicial system
make the videos go viral
publish dissertation-length posts
pray and/or meditate and/or go to church/temple/mosque/yoga
Yet, cops are STILL killing Black people on camera, amongst other crimes - major or minor. There must be physical and active congregation by word of mouth ONLY to strategize and create solutions. The Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Movement were Word of Mouth. Imagine if they had been hashtagging, tweeting and updating their statuses on FB about “making moves.” I believe this is what “the revolution will not be televised” really means. In order for it to be effective, it can’t be! Any truly successful person knows you don’t announce or discuss strategies and next steps outside of the camp.
Focus on finding ways to pool resources and work together to rebuild or strengthen communities.
Citizens of urban communities must continue doing their best to dismantle the stereotype of can't and not getting along and working well together. Unity and having regular word of mouth meetings is the key to making any of these possible solutions viable.
Whenever possible, patron businesses that benefit urban communities.
We have solid evidence of cultures that do this in America and it works! For example, if someone identifies as Black American, it would benefit their community by circulating their dollar (worth over a trillion dollars) by patronizing businesses aimed to build urban infrastructure.
For the nay-sayers:
If you had a bad customer service experience at a local, Black-owned business, please report it to and follow up with management. Hold them responsible without giving up on them after one bad experience. Do your best not to give up on shopping and supporting them.
For the business owners and employees:
Make sure you and your staff reflect punctuality, professionalism and good customer service. If you post that your business opens at 9AM, rolling in at any time after that, like more than 15 minutes past, is unacceptable. If you and/or your staff have a bad attitude in addition to, that’s even worse. This is especially important if your business is appointment-based or operates on a timetable i.e. a restaurant’s delivery service. The core of your brand should be good customer service, a neat and welcoming environment and a scalable operating structure.
Educate yourself on the who’s who of local and State leadership.
More gets accomplished at a town hall meeting and election for local officials than a protest. Get to know your local law enforcement and do your best to get involved on a local level. Voting in local elections is paramount.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Just simply focusing on being a better “you” and the things and people you love make a difference. Again, I'm not suggesting we turn a blind eye to racism but merely shift our focus to making ourselves and our communities better.
Ethnic people should avoid being in all or mostly white situations whenever possible and opt for more diverse settings.
Predominantly white neighborhoods, schools, bars, etc are potentially dangerous and are often breeding grounds for racial conflict. The melanated presence is so strong and powerful in a beautiful way but sadly, it makes for an easy target. Sometimes integration and desegregation can mean hostile interaction and perhaps even a threat to ethnic lives. There are plenty of equally nice but more diverse places to congregate and live. Please choose life and safety whenever possible.
TO BE CLEAR: Highlighting race, especially Blackness, is necessary with regard to its significance in existence regarding health, beauty, education (especially pre-slavery history) and studies producing solid evidence of the validity of race as a biological factor such as the preschool to prison pipeline and racial profiling by law enforcement. These are paramount conversations and discoveries. However, using race to present products, contributions and accolades can potentially marginalize the glory. It makes more of a statement not stating the obvious.
Aid is inadvertently given to those who seek to oppress and suppress ethnic people by marginalizing themselves as “[insert culture here] American,” making it much easier for oppressive and suppressive types to do so. IF YOU WERE BORN IN AMERICA, YOU ARE AMERICAN, PERIOD. Whenever filling out paperwork that asks for cultural/racial identification, either check “Other,” “Decline to Identify,” or leave it blank! Melanated people can effectively cease calling constant attention to their culture because their mere presence is powerful without even saying or typing a word. Perhaps there is a concern or fear that they are somehow ashamed of or are hiding their culture; that it will be ignored, overlooked or become invisible. Impossible!
It is high time to be creative and inventive with letting melanin shine without labeling it "Black," without reporting what the community is doing or going to do and actively, collectively and stealthily making major strides. This may be a tall order but it’s worth an earnest try.